Digital marketing trends: What to watch in 2018

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To stay ahead of competitors, it’s increasingly important to stay in tune with emerging marketing trends. As a Google Partner Agency, we make it our business to stay on top of digital marketing trends and consult with organizations to maximize their online performance. Here are a few of the trends we think you need to have on your 2018 marketing radar.
Google My business is a big deal — and getting bigger
As the digital landscape matures, Google My Business is becoming a more vital tool for communicating with current and potential customers. Google recently reported that more than 50 percent of small and medium-size businesses have bad information and/or errors in their Google My Business listings. By taking control and managing their listings, businesses can:

  • Maintain accurate information about your business online.
  • Interact with and attract customers and manage reviews; Google reports that 90 percent of online users trust reviews.
  • Increase search results and search effectiveness.

Mobile-friendly to mobile-first to mobile-mandatory
Marketing to the mobile platform is seeing unprecedented growth. A decade ago it was a good idea to incorporate mobile advertising into your strategy. Now it’s mandatory. By 2019, mobile advertising is expected to represent 72 percent of all U.S. digital ad spending and global mobile expenditures are projected to reach $247.4 billion by 2020, according to MarketingLand.
In addition to mobile advertising, it’s becoming increasingly important to consider optimizing your website for mobile devices. Google recently announced a change in its index to prioritize mobile sites. They’ll use the mobile version of your site to rank it. So, if you have a site optimized for mobile, you’ll rank well on both desktop and mobile search. If not, both rankings will do poorly.
Social media is pay to play
It used to be that creativity and persistence could grow a respectable social media following. Now the recipe calls for one more ingredient — dollars. Offering incredible granularity, social media platforms get paid to reach your ideal customers. Why?

  • According to Forbes, the percentage of a company’s followers who see social media updates that aren’t “boosted” with ad money (organic reach) on Facebook has been dwindling, dipping as low as 2 percent.
  • More than 90 percent of marketers who employ a social media-based influencer marketing strategy believe it is successful, according to Entrepreneur magazine.

AdWords: More effective than ever
People are clicking ads more than ever. So naturally, marketers are buying more targeted pay-per-click (PPC) placements than ever. Google reports that AdWords expenditures grew 23 percent year-over-year in Q4 of 2017 and that people who visit a website via a PPC ad are an astounding 50 percent more likely to make a purchase than visitors clicking an organic search result.

Whatever products or services your business sells or provides and wherever your customers live, work or play these digital trends can help make your 2018 more profitable and a better platform on which to build for 2019 and beyond. Active digital marketing is rapidly becoming an integral component of any marketing plan — continually shifting further from optional and closer to cost of entry.

Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for GREENCREST, a 27-year-old brand development, strategic and online marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into industry leaders™. Kelly is one of 35 certified brand strategists in North America and works with companies to establish brands and build brand value for their businesses.